Here we go. The compact NHL offseason has seemingly been shot out of a cannon towards the Jan. 1 beginning of the 2020-21 season. Friday noon is the start of the free-agent frenzy, but the Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Jim Rutherford have tamped down expectations of a big splash. Look for the Penguins to make depth moves.
And, for the cynical, look for the Penguins to overpay or dish long-term contracts.
PHN will keep a running blog of news, trades, signings, and rumors. The rumors will come from legit reporters around the league, not anonymous accounts or Twitter people with 300 followers, who claim to be an insider. Sorry!
First, a couple of Pittsburgh Penguins nuggets. A league source told, or rather didn’t tell, PHN if the Penguins would pursue blazingly fast forward Michael Grabner, “All I can say is there was interest in the past.”
And, there are some Penguins’ eyes on the Vegas Golden Knights and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. A team source told PHN the Penguins are “definitely” watching the situation, and some in the org think he’d like to come back. The Penguins are unlikely to trade for Fleury because of economics, but there are some in the organization who believe the door is open if VGK can find a way to buy out The Flower.
The second buyout window is opened when a team goes to arbitration with any player. However, VGK does not have any arbitration-eligible players, yet.
It still seems like a longshot, from all angles. Also, we cannot confirm Jim Rutherford’s interest level in the entire situation. Sometimes, sources have their own emotions. And Fleury is a guy who would inspire those. So, don’t dust off your Fleury jersey, just yet.
PHN Live NHL Free Agent Frenzy Blog, Freshest News at the Top.
That’s It! The live blog ended at 5:00 p.m.
The player’s names are in bold. Penguins News is entirely bold.
*As things slowed down heading five hours in, this is the latest on Taylor Hall.
Don't expect a decision today from Taylor Hall. He and his agent have met (via zoom) with numerous teams and will look at all offers. Decision likely over the weekend. It is a big decision, so they won't rush into it.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) October 9, 2020
*In non-free agent news:
Capitals are tabling contact talks with Alex Ovechkin until training camp.
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) October 9, 2020
*Jack Johnson isn’t the only former Penguins defenseman to land within the division. Justin Schultz has signed a two-year contract with Washington worth $8 million.
*In a depth signing aimed at Wilkes-Barre Scranton of the American Hockey League, the Penguins signed forward Josh Currie to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 at the NHL level.
*Details on the Jacob Markstrom deal:
Jacob Markstrom is headed to the @NHLFlames after signing a 6-year, $36 million deal.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 9, 2020
*Friedman is hearing Anaheim is going to sign Kevin Shattenkirk. Three-years, $3.9 million AAV.
Analysis: What a difference a year makes, huh?
*Jack Johnson, you remember him Penguins fans? Signed a one-year deal worth $1.15 million with the New York Rangers.
*Thehave signed defenseman Mark Borowiecki to a two-year, $4 million contract.
*The Edmonton Oilers signed Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $1 million deal.
*Per Bob McKenzie, the Penguins have signed Mark Jankowski to presumably be their third or fourth-line center. More details to follow.
Analysis: See the PHN full player breakdown
*Evan Rodrigues has signed, re-signed?, with the Penguins for one-year, $700,000. He made $2 million last season. See the full story.
*Alex Wennberg signs a one-year, $2.25 million deal in FLA, where former Columbus AGM Bill Zito is the new boss.
*Anton Khudobin: Has signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars, $3.33 million per.
*BOOM: Matt Murray signed a four-year, $25 million contract with Ottawa.
*Our friends at Puckpedia report Keith Kincaid got a two-year deal with an AAV of $875,000.
Jacob Markstrom is done in Calgary. #Flames
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) October 9, 2020
*RUMOR: Six teams have shown interest in former Ottawa D Mark Borowiecki. He’ll be getting down to a shortlist soon, according to Bruce Garrioch.
*RUMOR: Per John Shannon: Oilers definitely out of bidding on Markstrom.
*Braden Holtby is a Vancouver Canuck. Two-years, $4.3 million AAV.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2020
*RUMOR Report: Dallas and Anton Khudobin’s camp have circled back to each other now… so let’s see where. this goes (Pierre LeBrun)
*The Penguins are going to sign forward Evan Rodrigues, whose rights they traded to Toronto in the Kasperi Kapanen deal. Rodrigues made $2 million last season, but neither the Penguins nor Toronto wanted to pay that much.
The Edmonton Oilers signed Kyle Turris, 31, to a two-year deal with a $1.65M cap hit deal per @
After he failed to hit the NHL trade market for a goalie, MN Wild GM Bill Guerin snagged Cam Talbot off the UFA pile. Three years, $11 million.
Analysis: It’s not a wow move for Minnesota, and we’re not big fans of Talbot. Guerin may regret this one.
*Carter Verhaeghe to FLA. Our condolences to colleague George Richards, who will type that last name every night.
Analysis: Verhaeghe might be an under-the-radar demon. He can forecheck, gets after pucks with aggression and he led the Syracuse AHL team in scoring, two seasons ago.
*Radko Gudas signs with Florida, three-years, $7.5 million.
*Nathan Beaulieu signed a two-year, $2.5 million deal with WPG.
*The worst kept secret in the NHL is official, Henrik Lundqvist is a Washington Capital. One-year, $1.5 million.
*Elliotte Friedman reports Luke Schenn and Pat Maroon will return to Tampa Bay.
*UPDATE: Yes, Schenn signed a one-year deal worth $800,000. Maroon signed a two-year deal worth $1.8 million.
*Jesse Granger of The Athletic says there is interest in Vegas to bring back Erik Haula. He is one of the players PHN has on the Penguins potentials list.
*Yep, Wayne Simmonds signs in Toronto. Great get for TO. Simmonds is healthy and his leadership will add a bit to that room. One-year, $1.5 million.
— jonathan davis (@westcoasthky) October 9, 2020
*Bruce Garrioch reports Bobby Ryan will sign a one-year deal with Detroit. UPDATE: YES, Ryan signs one-year, $1 million.
Analysis: Got get it, Bobby Ryan. God speed.
*Tampa Bay Lightning placed forward Tyler Johnson on waivers. He can’t be bought out, but a team could get him for free.
*Jimmy Murphy reports the Bruins are kicking around a trade for New York Rangers RFA Ryan Strome.
Analysis: Well, he’s not tried to kidnap a Governor this week. So, that’s good. Strome has talent and the Bruins are desperately seeking skill and scoring punch. Does Strome have enough to make Boston pay up? I don’t know.
Mark Lazerus of the Athletic Tweets: Blackhawks sign Dominik Kubalik to a *two-year deal worth $3.7 million a year. Blackhawks sign Malcolm Subban to a two-year deal worth $850,000 a year.
*Darren Dreger reports Vancouver took a hard run at a trade with Arizona for Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but to no avail. Vancouver is one of two teams for whom Ekman-Larsson will waive his NTC.
*Per Bob McKenzie, T.J. Brodie and the Calgary Flames took another stab at a contract this morning. It didn’t work, so Brodie, who is a lefty but plays the right side, will be a UFA.
*Vegas traded center Paul Statsny, 34, to Winnipeg for a 2022 fourth-rounder and Carl Dahlstrom.
Analysis: Vegas is clearing salary. Statsny didn’t crack 40-points this season and will enter the final year of his three-year deal with a $6.5 million AAV. Winnipeg wants to remain a contender, despite a couple of quick playoff exits and a leaky blueline. WPG didn’t give up much, and VGK shed salary.
Hello, Alex Pietrangelo.
*The Tuscon Roadrunners of the AHL made former Penguins first-round pick Beau Bennet a UFA. Bennet had a nice year in Tuscon with 40 points (12g, 28a) in 55 games.
*Consensus rumor is that Calgary is about to go hard after Jakob Markstrom if Vancouver doesn’t lock him up in the next hour.
*Torey Krug will become a UFA, but the door is still open between him and the Bruins, per Boston Hockey Now.
Analysis: Just sign him. Boston is getting eyes bigger than its stomach. OEL is out there, but I’d take Krug.
*Michael Russo of The Athletic in Minneapolis reports that Minnesota GM Bill Guerin will hit the NHL free-agent market for a goalie if he can’t complete a trade by noon, EST.
#mnwild source says team will dive into free-agent market for a goalie if no trade is made by 11 a.m. CT
Free-agent goalies available include Jacob Markstrom, Braden Holtby, Thomas Greiss, Cam Talbot, Anton Khudobin, Corey Crawford, Cory Schneider, Mike Smith, Aaron Dell
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) October 9, 2020
Analysis: Big decision coming from Guerin. He traded starter Devan Dubnyk to San Jose this week. Alex Stalock is a career backup, but was pretty good this season. Does Guerin go big? Or look at a platoon and go for a goalie like Anton Khudobin? Corey Crawford may be a nice stopgap who could platoon or carry 50 games, too.
*Bob McKenzie confirms the Washington Capitals will ink Henrik Lundqvist to sidesaddle Illya Samsonov in net.
Goalie market will be fascinating to watch today. One of the first signings to become official is expected to be Henrik Lundqvist to WSH on a one-year contract. The King has been UFA since being bought out by the NYR but can’t formalize the contract until today.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2020
*Joe Thornton may play part of the season in Switzerland. He would like to come back, too.
Spoke with Joe Thornton this morning over the phone from Switzerland. He said while he does absolutely plan to return to play next season, he's in no hurry to make his decision. Also he may play some Swiss League hockey for a bit as well.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 9, 2020
*UPDATE on Grabner: Not that the Penguins were going to sign him at this point, but apparently no one else is, either.
Michael Grabner informed teams today that he will likely wait to see when next season begins before making a decision on where he will play….that gives him more time to decide what's best for him and his family.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 9, 2020